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Barring something exceptional, does the 'degree' of accomplishment or participation matter or just that it was done/done well?

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blissworm

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What I mean to ask is that, removing anything amazing such as the preverbial cancer cure, being a Navy SEAL, or being a nurse in a low income hospital first etc, do adcoms consider the level of accomplishment/participation or just that it was done?

For example, with leadership activities do reviewers notice and take into account if you were, say, the president of an international org as opposed to president or VP of a campus club? Both are leadership, both impressive but I would say the former is that much more than the latter. Would an adcom look at both and say 'meh they're both leadership experiences' or value the 'higher level' one more?

Same with clinical experience. Is being a paid clinical worker better than getting all hours through volunteering? Is working with a, dare I say, more challenging and underserved patient population such as in a neuropsychiatric hospital or children's hospital favored over being a CT tech at a suburban private hospital? These are all generalizations, but I hope what I'm trying to get at is coming across.

I know publications are an example where it does matter. Doing research is great, research with pubs is great great etc. Any other areas where this matters? I imagine non-clinical volunteering is the same. Signing up to teach refugee kids English is all well and good, but starting some nonprofit that creates some program is much more impressive and will probably be weighted more.

Thanks
 

Moko

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What I mean to ask is that, removing anything amazing such as the preverbial cancer cure, being a Navy SEAL, or being a nurse in a low income hospital first etc, do adcoms consider the level of accomplishment/participation or just that it was done?

For example, with leadership activities do reviewers notice and take into account if you were, say, the president of an international org as opposed to president or VP of a campus club? Both are leadership, both impressive but I would say the former is that much more than the latter. Would an adcom look at both and say 'meh they're both leadership experiences' or value the 'higher level' one more?

Same with clinical experience. Is being a paid clinical worker better than getting all hours through volunteering? Is working with a, dare I say, more challenging and underserved patient population such as in a neuropsychiatric hospital or children's hospital favored over being a CT tech at a suburban private hospital? These are all generalizations, but I hope what I'm trying to get at is coming across.

I know publications are an example where it does matter. Doing research is great, research with pubs is great great etc. Any other areas where this matters? I imagine non-clinical volunteering is the same. Signing up to teach refugee kids English is all well and good, but starting some nonprofit that creates some program is much more impressive and will probably be weighted more.

Thanks
The degree of involvement matters. Extracurriculars are not evaluated in a dichotomous fashion.
 
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jhmmd

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What I mean to ask is that, removing anything amazing such as the preverbial cancer cure, being a Navy SEAL, or being a nurse in a low income hospital first etc, do adcoms consider the level of accomplishment/participation or just that it was done?

For example, with leadership activities do reviewers notice and take into account if you were, say, the president of an international org as opposed to president or VP of a campus club? Both are leadership, both impressive but I would say the former is that much more than the latter. Would an adcom look at both and say 'meh they're both leadership experiences' or value the 'higher level' one more?

Same with clinical experience. Is being a paid clinical worker better than getting all hours through volunteering? Is working with a, dare I say, more challenging and underserved patient population such as in a neuropsychiatric hospital or children's hospital favored over being a CT tech at a suburban private hospital? These are all generalizations, but I hope what I'm trying to get at is coming across.

I know publications are an example where it does matter. Doing research is great, research with pubs is great great etc. Any other areas where this matters? I imagine non-clinical volunteering is the same. Signing up to teach refugee kids English is all well and good, but starting some nonprofit that creates some program is much more impressive and will probably be weighted more.

Thanks
It sounds like you're asking if leadership is valued. It is. Paid vs. non-paid doesn't make a big difference, just be sure to get enough hours in so that 1. You know what you're getting into 2. You have things to talk about in your secondaries and interviews.

You want some experience working with underserved populations. Doesn't matter if this is paid or non-paid, either.

Obviously, as you said, the more extraordinary, the more adcoms are going to notice, but there are plenty of us without outstanding things in our applications. What you DO want is a "hook"--a story or theme that differentiates you from other applicants.

In summary, do your best--that's all you can do.
 
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blissworm

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The degree of involvement matters. Extracurriculars are not evaluated in a dichotomous fashion.
by degree do you mean something like president/founder/etc vs just a member, or the actual environment within which the work is being done? Thanks!
 

blissworm

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It sounds like you're asking if leadership is valued
So what I'm more getting at is the environment in which the leadership is done. Basically, I have the opportunity to either do student govt for a second year, or take up a role as the president of an intl science organization I was secretary for. I'm debating whether I should go for the continuity of two years in a good role in student govt, or take up what I believe is a much more impressive leadership position. I am more inclined towards the latter because student gov have gotten taxing, but I've heard again and again that being in one role for longer is better and shows commitment. The reason I can't do both is that I don't wanna take up too much and half as* anything, rather do one well.

What you DO want is a "hook"
You actually got at something else I wanted to ask which I was gonna make a separate thread for later. I'm wondering how bad it is to present myself as someone who knows exactly what specialty I wanna do (don't worry it's not Neuro surg). Is it gonna be like shooting myself in the foot bc adcoms will think I'm not open minded and am niave. I have a strong story around it and many of my activities and research relate to it so I'm debating whether I go for it and present a cohesive narrative that's memorable at the risk of coming off as someone who doesn't know that most people change their minds.
 

jhmmd

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So what I'm more getting at is the environment in which the leadership is done. Basically, I have the opportunity to either do student govt for a second year, or take up a role as the president of an intl science organization I was secretary for. I'm debating whether I should go for the continuity of two years in a good role in student govt, or take up what I believe is a much more impressive leadership position. I am more inclined towards the latter because student gov have gotten taxing, but I've heard again and again that being in one role for longer is better and shows commitment. The reason I can't do both is that I don't wanna take up too much and half as* anything, rather do one well.


You actually got at something else I wanted to ask which I was gonna make a separate thread for later. I'm wondering how bad it is to present myself as someone who knows exactly what specialty I wanna do (don't worry it's not Neuro surg). Is it gonna be like shooting myself in the foot bc adcoms will think I'm not open minded and am niave. I have a strong story around it and many of my activities and research relate to it so I'm debating whether I go for it and present a cohesive narrative that's memorable at the risk of coming off as someone who doesn't know that most people change their minds.
1. Go with what you're more interested in. This will allow you to speak passionately at your interviews and convey your knowledge with enthusiasm.
2. Short answer: it depends. Better answer: It's best to keep your options open, because even if you've volunteered/shadowed doctors in the specialty that you're interested in, you haven't rotated through it as a med student yet, right? I would avoid the option you're considering and go for breadth more than depth. It shows that you're interested in medicine as a whole, and on the off chance that you don't match into this specialty, that medical schools haven't wasted a seat on someone that won't work in a different specialty. I see where you're coming from, but it's wisest to keep these things to yourself until you're actually in medical school. Find another theme.

Other people may tell you different things, but this plan gives you the most options. Hope that helped :)
 

Goro

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Same with clinical experience. Is being a paid clinical worker better than getting all hours through volunteering?
No. The point is to have patient contact experience, paid or not.

Is working with a, dare I say, more challenging and underserved patient population such as in a neuropsychiatric hospital or children's hospital favored over being a CT tech at a suburban private hospital?
It is in my book. Very few people are comfortable in getting up close and personal with our mortality or the more fragile populations, like the mentally ill or disabled.

I imagine non-clinical volunteering is the same. Signing up to teach refugee kids English is all well and good, but starting some nonprofit that creates some program is much more impressive and will probably be weighted more.
What we look for is that you display your altruism, especially with those less fortunate than you. And starting a nonprofit never impressed me. I like seeing people get out of their comfort zones.
 
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